Jerry West: "LeBron Has Surpassed Kobe As a Player."

Charlie JonesContributor IMay 19, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 19:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots a jumper against LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers during the game at Staples Center on January 19, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.  The Lakers defeated the Cavaliers 105-88.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Whoa Mr. West! What's that you say?

Over at the Washington Post, Hall of Famer and architect of great Lakers teams, Mr. NBA himself, was quoted as saying LeBron James has "surpassed Kobe as a player."

Really? LeBron hasn't even won a championship yet and he has already surpassed Kobe as a player? LeBron hasn't dealt with major injuries, major team player losses, major team meltdowns, and he has surpassed Kobe Bryant as a player?

I have much respect for Jerry West, but at 70 maybe his mind isn't as sharp as it once was.

I admire LeBron and do agree that he has the ability to become the best player ever in the NBA.

But surpassing Kobe without a ring?

"If I had to have somebody make a last-second shot, it would be Kobe Bryant," says West. "But even though it's hard for me to be objective, because I brought Kobe to Los Angeles, I do think LeBron has surpassed Kobe as a player."

Maybe he is too focused on LeBron's friendly image, one that his teammates admire. But what would happen if adversity struck and he wasn't the only superstar on the team?

Kobe had to stand out amongst Hall of Famers like Karl Malone, Gary Payton, and Shaq. Who has LeBron had to work with? The Cavaliers have always been his team, it was given to him.

Kobe had to earn this team.

Kobe has had to fight for everything he has. LeBron has not. This has given Kobe the appearance of a loner, of being arrogant, and even seen him labeled as selfish.

Kobe has had many roles as a player, LeBron has only had one. Kobe has been moulded into a leader, LeBron was expected to be one from the start.

Kobe is a warrior, battle tested, and successful. LeBron, while a great player with a great future, cannot have surpassed Kobe as a player, not by a long shot.